Barcelona defending icon Gerard Pique has courageously expressed his excitement about Gerardo Martino's tactical tweaks.

Martino, who was appointed head coach during the summer, intends to introduce a more 'vertical' approach to the club's style of play.

And whilst speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport, Pique stressed that Barca had become "slaves to their system," under previous managers Josep Guardiola and Tito Vilanova.

"We played the last few years with homegrown coaches, first Pep and then Tito, and maybe we ended up exasperating our style of play to the extent that we found ourselves slaves to that system, that style," he said.

"Now that Tata, who comes from outside the club, has arrived, and who shares the same ideas of football, which are based on possession, he is, however, showing us different options."

Pique also hinted that hitting the odd long ball from the back - a philosophy Josep and Tito refuted - could be useful in tactical moments.

"It's very positive because it gives us variety," he said. "When we are being pressed, sending the ball long a few times is not negative; it helps you mix things up, giving you oxygen and preventing us from getting crushed with no way out.

"We have started pressing far up the field again, winning back possession in the final third of the field and, from there, it's far easier to create chances without having to build up from right at the back, particularly against sides who close up a lot.

"It's normal to try to develop new ideas and variations.

"After many years, our opponents obviously knew how we attacked, how we moved.

"Look at Alves and Alba, for example. They push a lot and some opponents would give them space down the wing, but not let them move inside. It became difficult to get in. We needed to find alternative solutions and Tata's doing that without ruining our style - we still have the same possession. We needed variations like this."

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